It can be worrying if your cat starts eating less or refusing food altogether. Today, our Las Vegas vets share some common reasons for your cat not eating and how to tell if it's an emergency situation. 

Why won't my cat eat?

Cat's are notoriously picky eaters. Many a cat owner have found themselves looking for new, interesting flavors of food after their feline friend has decided they don't like their current offering. However, if you notice your cat not eating for an extended period of time, or they have other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, there could be an underlying health issue causing the appetite problem. 

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is common in cats older than 7 and may cause your feline friend to feel nauseated, which could lead to a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include drinking lots of water and urinating frequently. If your cat has stopped eating and is displaying symptoms of kidney disease, make an appointment with your vet right away. 

Dental Issues

Dental issues in pets can lead to mouth pain that can result in a refusal to eat. An injury to your cat's mouth caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay or loose or broken teeth can all cause significant pain.

If you suspect your cat is suffering from pain in their mouth, take them to your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can perform a thorough dental examination and diagnose and treat any issues that may be causing pain. 

Gastrointestinal Problems

As with people, gastrointestinal (GI) problems can cause cats to feel nauseated cause them to experience a loss of appetite. Cats suffering from GI issues will often display other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and weight loss.

Common GI issues in cats include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Colitis
  • Cancer
  • Parasites
  • Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
  • Foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract

It’s time to see your vet if you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting in addition to losing her appetite.

Gastrointestinal issues, especially those causing severe vomiting or diarrhea, are serious and may warrant emergency care. Bring your cat to the vet as soon as possible to seek treatment and prevent dehydration.

Other Possible Causes

Cats may refuse to eat for a number of reasons not directly related to their overall physical health, including:

  • New food
  • Depression/anxiety
  • A shift in normal routines
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Motion sickness due to travel

These issues should only cause your cat to skip one or two meals. If the problem persists longer than 24 hours, it is time to see the vet. 

If my cat refuses to eat, when should I visit a vet?

If your cat has refused more than two meals or is exhibiting any behaviors or symptoms you’re concerned about, contact your vet right away or visit your nearest emergency clinic. The earlier the diagnosis the better the chance that your cat will make a full recovery. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you're concerned about your cat not eating, call our Las Vegas vets or bring your cat in to Island Pet Hospital for emergency care during our regular clinic hours.